When a baby or child dies suddenly and unexpectedly

When a baby or child dies suddenly and unexpectedly the impact is one of utter devastation. Initial feelings of shock and disbelief will often give rise to questions about what happened and why it has happened to you. Often, the lack of answers to these questions adds to the overwhelming feelings of grief and helplessness.

Feelings of denial, unreality and numbness are common and these intense emotions are real and a normal part of grieving. Grief is a process of trying to cope with your loss and make meaning out of life without your baby/child. Grieving is not easy. It is long, unpredictable and requires a lot of patience.

Grief is a very personal emotion and everyone will grieve differently and may find that they are unable to provide much support for each other. It can be very helpful to share what you are feeling with someone outside the family such as your doctor or social worker.

Some of the physical manifestations of grief can be very hard – nausea, pain in the chest and arms, exhaustion. The bereaved person may also fear that they are losing their mind. These are all normal parts of the grief process.

Grief is not something which can be measured in terms of time. The emotions involved can resurface for many years, particularly at anniversaries, birthdays, family celebrations and special landmarks, such as when the child would have started school. Although the acute pain will gradually diminish, the baby/child who died will never be forgotten.

Download our Parent’s Leaflet below.

Download Parent's Leaflet (Support for Families) (PDF)